“For the multiculturalist, white Anglo-Saxon Protestants are prohibited, Italians and Irish get a little respect,blacks are good, native Americans are even better. The further away we go, the more they deserve respect. This is akind of inverted, patronising respect that puts everyone at a distance.” ( Slavoj Žižek). When we speak aboutmulticulturalism two essential things comes down: cultural diversity and ‘difference’ (cultural).
The word”multiculturalism” appears in the English vocabulary in the early seventies years. The notion of “difference”emerges about it ten years later in favor of the “cultural turn” of the social sciences, including postmodernismand postcolonialism. Multiculturalism is certainly a speech that comes in several versions, but also and more away of understanding the relationship between identity (culture, person) and citizenship (the individual, thecitizen) in modern society’s liberals. This essay is based on information received from Katia Thomason, anAmerican_canadian international student in my university. In this essay on multiculturalism, we will find neither a definition of multiculturalism nor a judgment on theconcept of culture and cultural relations it defends. My focus is on the questions I asked and answers thatsuggest about understanding the difference and management of cultural diversity in modern societies.
For at least ten years, Quebec is immersed in an identity debate, called “malaise” by many, and often takingdiversity scapegoats in the most predominant public speech inflections. This interview focuses on the discourseon cultural identity and their representations in societies with significant ethno cultural diversity in Quebec.“The increasing tendency towards seeing people in terms of one dominant ‘identity’ (‘this is your duty as anAmerican’, ‘you must commit these acts as a Muslim’, or ‘as a Chinese you should give priority to this nationalengagement’) is not only an imposition of an external and arbitrary priority, but also the denial of an importantliberty of a person who can decide on their respective loyalties to different groups (to all of which he or shebelongs).”
Amartya Sen. The United states are indeed a rich field to understand the ways in which conceivescultural identity in contexts marked by a great diversity. They offer historical and experiential background ofbuilding new societies by implementing migration, both voluntary induced more. They are also one of theplaces in the world where the words to describe the difference as miscegenation remarkably proliferate andwhere multiculturalism policies are defined with consistency and little variety equaled elsewhere. Why consider the concept of multiculturalism as an ideology? The meaning we assign to this concept here, isrelatively simple: it is an idea system that shapes and / or is a special grid of interpretation of the world. Thus,Katia explained to me that we can define multiculturalism as a current of thought, which took off in the late 70s,is in a historical context where many nation-states began to adopt a new management of migration, to following the oil shocks and raw successive economic crises.
As of thought, multiculturalism is not simply points out that societies are composed of individuals with affiliations and different cultural identities. It is a historical fact of any society, this finding is put forward periodically, depending on how the government and the mediainterested. Multiculturalism goes beyond this, “it advocates” the valorization of identities, their recognitionwithin States. In a relativistic perspective, the concept of multiculturalism, puts all cultures at the same level,without any relation of domination even within a country. Empirically, multiculturalism becomes a social fact as long as the groups identify with identities other thanthe country in which they reside, and they claim a legal and social status equivalent to members of dominantculture saying. It is a social demand, part a struggle for recognition. We can take the example of aboriginalpeople in Canada, who are fighting to preserve their social status. This movement originates internalization bygroup members to particular identities, the way society deals with them. This is also because society identifiesindividuals in relation to a given identity, that they identify with their tour this identity.
It us not forget, that individuals are socially constructed through the eyes of others, what determines their evolution in their positionor their choice of social action. This is not recognizing indigenous as Canadian, that they will strengthen theiridentification with their history, their traditions, their languages …] Although Canadian Multiculturalism has positive consequences in some areas, in other areas of social lifemulticulturalism is either challenged or it has some shortcomings. First, ideologically multiculturalism does notunanimously, on the contrary. Some intellectuals fear that promoting diversity is at the expense of equality andfreedom but also social cohesion. According to these critics by emphasizing the difference between individualsfar from uniting, it may dissolve the fragile unity of the country.
Although surveys show that this risk iscurrently almost non-existent in Canada, since the company accepts different cultures, individuals retreated tothe latter; this critique of multiculturalism persists over time. Others explain that multiculturalism as applied inCanada is a folk and classical conception of cultures. This design would result in subordinating individualliberty to the community membership. This will then promote the company’s fragmentation. Recently, a policy debate at the case law in the workplace tend some observers to question the multiculturalmodel as it was established until today. The purpose of this debate is the application of what Canadian calledreasonable accommodation. This would be able to fight against discrimination established between abusinessman and his employee, if he was discriminated against because of his ethnic origin or other. Put simply,these reasonable accommodations consist of an agreement between two individuals who may depart from thestandard of labor relations defined by the law, if one of them has been the victim of discrimination.
In these circumstances multiculturalism somehow loses its legislative power because depend on the judgment ofindividual system; this could have negative consequences especially in terms of equality or even the applicationof the ideals that are the foundations of this current of thought. This is why, since 2007, the debate onreasonable accommodation is quite controversial, especially in Quebec. Moreover, Quebec and the francophone community who lives do not always see a positive view ofmulticultural policy applied by the federal government, and that since 1971. Indeed, the Francophonecommunity is concerned that the term power federal considers francophone as any other ethnic group in the aswill integrate into Canadian-inspired Anglo-Saxon culture. The French like to be considered the equivalent ofthe Anglo-Saxon if not superior in the management of internal policy. This animosity can be illustrated by thevarious referendums conducted by the Quebec so that it takes its independence.
Although so far the protestshave not accomplished, identity claims remain common. The second difficulty that appears to meet Canada’s multicultural policy regarding the consideration by thefederal state of Aboriginal communities. These are regularly alerted about their political role. The crisis OKA inthe 90s or years before the publication of the White Paper in 1969 which aimed to reduce the power of theindigenous communities in the state, are part of other historical and frequent events concerning the defensenative. Although considered as a separate immigrant community, Aboriginal seem also considered foreignersand are sometimes the object plane to enable their integration, “The increasing tendency towards seeing people in terms of one dominant ‘identity’ (‘this is your duty as an American’, ‘you must commit these acts as aMuslim’, or ‘as a Chinese you should give priority to this national engagement’) is not only an imposition of anexternal and arbitrary priority, but also the denial of an important liberty of a person who can decide on theirrespective loyalties to different groups (to all of which he or she belongs).” (Amartya).
To conclude, concerning the application of multiculturalist ideals and institutional responses to the demandsof different social groups, states are trying to find a balance between their interests and social demand to ensurethe unity of the countries and their respective social cohesion. The Canadian federal government is currently the most successful on the application of a multicultural policy. Indeed, he was able to organize to manageimmigration while taking institutional measures that newcomers do not feel excluded by facilitating theiremployability, setting up structures in which they can request information practices … this way the differentidentities are recognized and accepted. The coexistence between different communities is ensured. Moreover,the authorities encourage participation in social life of permanent residents that is to say, people who are notfrom Canada.